Here's the opening para. Prepare yourself for a shock:
George W. Bush could have handled things differently.No-o-o! Really??
Cue the obligatory rushed "yes, there have been mistakes, BUT..." bit, just to establish a little credibility early on:
There is no doubt the international good standing of the United States of America has slipped considerably under the stewardship of President George W. Bush. Many of the benefits of the end of the Cold War, which left the US as the world's only superpower, have been squandered.Funny, I really haven't read too much about that in other O.O. editorials. And given they have relentlessly backed Bush and his militant globalisation agenda for the last eight years, should we expect some kind of big front page apology anytime soon? No?
No, we all "move on" quickly these days, don't we. So tell us what went wrong, guys?
The turning point can be traced to the September 11 terrorist attacks which presented Mr Bush with a difficult challenge, forcing him to take a more active interest in foreign policy than many had expected he would.Don't be silly! 9-11 wasn't a "difficult challenge", it was a "great opportunity"! In fact, it was exactly what the hawkish neoconservatives who put him in power were waiting, planning, hoping and (dare I say it?) organising for!
Mr Bush understandably responded to the September 11 attacks with force, inviting a new level of resentment from anti-American forces that will always be suspicious of US actions."Understandably"? What, he had to go and invade a couple of countries just because he was too stupid to do diplomacy? He couldn't have brought the 9-11 terrorists to justice through negotiations with the Taliban and others? Or did he have to use violence because the US media was thoroughly dominated by hawkish voices demanding an attack on someone - anyone! - and Bush would have been driven even lower in the opinion polls if he hadn't obliged their bloodlust?
And what's this nonsense about "anti-American forces"? Oh yeah, I forgot. The Evil guys are just Evil and they Hate Us For Our Freedoms and you can Never, Ever Negotiate with them. And that...
Australia, under John Howard and Kevin Rudd, has remained unequivocal in its support for the US as a force for good in global affairs.Bullshit. The media has remained nearly unequivocal, particularly the Murdoch media, and our politicians still fall in line and salute whenever anyone waves the Stars and Stripes. But the rest of us have had a gutful of the violence-loving yanks in Washington, as countless polls have proved. It's bad enough calling your newspaper "The Australian" without seriously pretending that you speak for all Australians.
Elsewhere, particularly in Europe, this [pro-US] sentiment has been badly tarnished, largely as a consequence of the liberation and protracted conflict in Iraq. The Australian remains very supportive of US leadership in world affairs, including in Iraq and the Middle East in general.You don't say.
The success of US efforts to promote democracy in the region as the foundation for lasting peace will not be known for many years. But the evidence is, given the opportunity, citizens everywhere will defy the threats of terrorists and tyrants to exercise their right to vote.Oh yeah, all them purple fingers. How can we ever forget? Nowadays the Iraqis are holding up their middle fingers, which are dripping with the red blood of their children, mothers, and fathers. But don't let that spoil your fantasy.
The failure of the USA in Iraq is in fact 100% obvious right now, to anyone not still wearing BushWorld blinkers. It might take the War Criminals "many years" to acknowledge that, but there's no reason why the rest of us should hang around waiting for History.
Nonetheless, Mr Bush's reflections in an interview with The Times in which he expressed regret at the way he had projected the image of American power in response to the September 11 attacks are most welcome.Hang on a minute before I choke on a pretzel - is the O.O. actually congratulating Bush here?
The "dead or alive" rhetoric used by Mr Bush in his campaign against Saddam Hussein looks particularly flippant given the way events in Iraq have played out.So it would have been OK if things had worked out better? What about the "bring 'em on" rhetoric which was blamed for a direct escalation in insurgent violence?
Mr Bush's recognition of this fact will go some way towards smoothing the terrain for his potential Republican successor, John McCain, who faces a tough challenge against the aspirational Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama.OK, so that's why we're congratulating - because he's taking this issue off the campaign table. But hasn't anyone at the O.O. watched that video of John McCain singing "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"?
Whether he likes it or not, Mr Bush is now a lame duck president.Does that mean he won't be bombing Iran after all? Aww...
But rather than be remembered only for the poor health of the US economy at the end of his term or the widely regarded misadventure in Iraq, Mr Bush wants history to judge that he learnt his lessons on the shortcomings of gunboat diplomacy.Right-o. So he may have completely f***ed the US economy and world peace, and he may never be prepared to learn a lesson from that, but at least he learned his lesson on something! At least the last eight years weren't a complete waste of time for him, even if they were for the rest of us.
He would prefer to be remembered for the broad multilateral coalitions he has championed to deal with the most pressing global issues such as Iran, North Korea and the creation of a Palestinian state.OK, that's it - bring me the bucket, honey.
Little George wants to be remembered as a hero, so let's all pretend that he was one. Because we wouldn't want to hurt his widdle feelings, would we?
Never mind that the few remaining members of Bush's pathetic Coalition of the Wilting are nearly all ex-Soviet satellite states. Never mind that the anti-US coalition of leftwing governments presents a far more profound shift in global power. And - please - let's not even talk about "the creation of a Palestinian state". We wouldn't want to hurt George's feelings, right?
When it works, multilateral agreement will always be the best option. But no one should forget the backsliding, double dealing and indifference that characterised the UN's approach to Iraq which forced the US, aided by loyal friends such as Britain and Australia, to go it alone in Iraq.That's it. The end. Crunching final para: it was all the UN's fault! BWWAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
This is the last straw for the warmongers, the final false dichotomy on which they fall back. If you still don't think Bush was Teh Awesome, then you must love the smell of Kofi Annan's farts. You think the current organisational problems with the UN are just super fantastic doo dah, and you better just remember that it was only your stupid Russian and French pinup boys who FORCED US TO INVADE IRAQ ILLEGALLY!
You know what, there's one final paragraph waiting to be written for this editorial, isn't there?
We, the undersigned members of the Murdoch media propaganda team, are now regretfully leaving this newspaper to spend more time with our families and contemplate new career directions...UPDATE: I notice that News Ltd's own Tim Dunlop has written not one but two "professional" blog posts on this subject without mentioning the O.O. editorial. That's kinda funny considering he is criticizing WaPo's editorials.
UPDATE 2: Bob Cesca lets rip:
As it turns out, you won't have much control over your legacy and the history of your administration anyway. You might have some cursory input, but no-one really takes you seriously anymore and anything you put forth will be taken as just another work of fiction; another bit of propaganda.ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, time's up for Tim Dunlop, who has failed to publish my comment. So much for "Rapid-fire commentary and discussion of politics, values and culture that doesn't suck." Blogocrazy sucks, big time.
Your legacy will ultimately be written by those of us who have been actively documenting your presidency in real time -- millions of voices authoring the narrative of your awful regime and preserving it with digital clarity one trespass at a time.
And everywhere we look, we can plainly observe your smirking, affectless footprint.
Death, poverty, war, pain, ignorance, blind patriotism, joblessness, and abandoned homes. And guess what? We're writing it down on the Internets. Your history, Mr. President, is being written at this very moment by those of us who are watching our homes collapse in value and our friends and relatives sent to places like Ramadi and Fallujah and, in some cases, Walter Reed or worse. Your history, Mr. President, isn't going to be settled and published decades from now. It's being published immediately and without the fog of memory to obscure the ugly details.